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Crispy-Skin Salmon with Miso-Honey Sauce

Crispy-Skin Salmon with Miso-Honey Sauce

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Quick cooking, not-too-expensive, and super satisfying, salmon fillets are a weeknight dinner slam dunk—and our go-to method for making them is pretty much un-mess-up-able. The key is starting the fillets skin side down in a not-preheated cast iron skillet, cranking the heat, and letting the skin slowly render and crisp. (Kind of how we did in our recipe for Coconut-Curry Braised Chicken Thighs, remember?) This ensures that the flesh cooks gently (and mostly on one side), so that all it needs is a quick flip and another minute or so to get you to a perfect medium-rare. (Yeah, you really shouldn't be cooking your salmon all the way through.) And if you're not the kind of person who keeps miso paste on hand at all times, well, the salty-sweet sauce that goes with the fish is going to be the thing that changes your mind. It's the kind of umami-packed powerhouse ingredient that makes throw-together sauces taste like they took forever to make, and we like to add a dab to everything from soups and stews to marinades and salad dressings when we want a kick of salt and flavor. Cook up a proper pot of rice, and dinner is served.


  1. Start by assembling the honey-miso sauce: Peel 2" piece ginger with a spoon. (We find that a spoon is better for navigating the bumpy exterior of a knob of ginger than a vegetable peeler, but you do you.) Finely grate ginger with a Microplane into a small bowl.

  2. Add 2 Tbsp. miso, 1 Tbsp. oil, 1 Tbsp. vinegar, 1 Tbsp. honey, and 1 Tbsp. water to the bowl with with the ginger. Whisk to combine and set aside. This is a great all-purpose sauce, so making extra wouldn't hurt! Use it to top grain bowls, roasted vegetables, or any other simply-cooked protein.

  3. Heat a small skillet over medium. Toast 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds, tossing frequently, until seeds are a light golden color and slightly fragrant, about 2 minutes. Seeds you toast yourself are always going to be more flavorful than the ones you buy already toasted, but we won't judge if you don't feel like going the extra mile.

  4. Trim the root ends from 3 scallions and thinly slice crosswise.

  5. Lightly season the flesh of 4 salmon fillets on all sides with salt. Place pieces skin side down in a cold—as in not preheated; you don't have to refrigerate it or anything—cast-iron skillet. (This might seem a little weird, but trust us—the skin will render nicely and get way more crispy this way.) Heat skillet over medium and let the salmon cook undisturbed for 5 minutes.

  6. Press down lightly on flesh with a spatula to ensure all parts of the skin are making contact with the pan. At this point it should be opaque at least halfway up the flesh side. Continue to cook skin side down until fish is mostly opaque and skin is crispy, about 5 minutes longer. If the skin is still sticking to the pan at this point, don't try to un-stick it—you'll know that it's ready to flip when it releases on its own.

  7. Using a fish spatula, gently flip the fillets, then remove the pan from the heat. Continue to cook off-heat (the pan will still be plenty hot) until flesh is juuuuuuuust cooked through, about 1 minute longer for regular-sized fillets, but very thick ones might take up to 3 minutes more—you can use a fork to flake the fish slightly to check for doneness; you're looking for the inside to be still a little pink and translucent.

  8. Spoon miso-honey sauce onto a platter. Place salmon fillets skin side up on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and scallions. Et voila! Dinner is served.

Recipe by Lauren Schaefer

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Quick Pan-Roasted Salmon with Miso-Honey Sauce

Reviews SectionI made this recipe and my boyfriend absolutely loved it (I did too, for the record). Perfectly crispy skin and the miso honey glaze is addictive.Hilary AdamsFairfax, VA08/06/20Quick and easy to make...and absolutely delicious!Didn’t have white miso but had some red miso so I just used half as much. Made it again with a soba noodle tofu spinach mushroom thing, but added about a tablespoon and a half of gochujang, which added a nice mild kick.This is the only way I cook fish anymore, so good! I even cook walleye this way with reduced time.AnonymousWisconsin05/13/20This was everything I had hoped it would be and more! So quick and easy to prep and cook, plus the sauce is just incredible. I served it with brown rice, and cooked up some bok choy, garlic shoots and sugar snap peas in soy sauce and garlic, which made for the perfect companions. Already looking forward to my leftovers tomorrow...Gold Coast, Australia01/10/20This was actually very easy and quick to make. It turned out to be the best salmon I have ever made!Okay, so. The cold pan method didn't work for me, even though its worked before! I think my fatal flaw was using a stainless steel pan instead of nonstick (I don't own cast iron). Despite the skin largely sticking to the pan, the fish itself was cooked really well and the sauce was delicious. I'll be honest, I made this recipe in an effort to scare off a prospective roommate. The smell definitely did the job, so mission accomplished. However, I'd appreciate some tips as to how to avoid it in the future. It lingered in the apartment for several days after.AnonymousColumbia, SC10/17/19Yes, the cooking method worked and produced perfectly done salmon. However, the cooking time was considerably more than the 10 minutes recommended. I used a standard cast iron, black interior, Le Crueset pan. It took 15 minutes on the first side to get the skin to release and about 3 minutes on the other side. We live in MT and our trading post had 3 types of salmon including wild caught $32 per lb King, which I bought. It was about 1 3/4 inches at the thickest part. I would like to point out the the writer that these days home cooks have available infrared and instant read thermometers. So you don't need to be so vague about what constitutes medium heat and you could tell us what the internal temp of the fish should be. Using Medium on my Thermador gas range, the pan got to between 390F and 450F. The fish smoked a bit but the vent fan took most of it. I note there is still a bit of fish smell the morning after. Personally, I don't like to eat crispy (or any other type) of fish skin and prefer poached or roasted salmon (no smell). The sauce was great, however, to me, it overpowers the fish. But it is definitely worth a try. You might consider using it with grilled salmon.Bottom line I'd make it again as the fish came out great, despite the smell. And I might try a cheaper type of salmon that would benefit from a strong sauce.I would like to encourage all BA writers to be more precise with their heat settings and tell us what the internal temp of the final product should be. Thank youAnonymousBozeman MT10/07/19Amazing crispy fish with an incredible sauce to accompany. Served it up with rice and charred broccoli and covered it all in the amazing sauce. Recipe is a super keeper!soundsofsilencesNew Jersey07/17/19This sauce though! I want to have it on EVERYTHING. I made the salmon for my husband and baked a piece of cod for myself. We had asparagus as our side and I doused everything with the sauce. Easy to make, I didn't have all of the specific ingredients on hand or at my grocery store, but it was very easy to substitute with what I could find.KEEP THE SKIN FROM STICKING by patting the salmon 100% DRY before it goes in the pan.Great recipe. Sauce takes longer than planned.HexKeyParis, France04/20/19Fabulous recipe. Made it exactly how it reads, but my salmon fillets were a little thick so I left them in the pan, off the heat, for a few minutes longer than the recipe suggested. I don't think I can go back to cooking salmon any other way, it's just so good.extragarlic007New York04/15/19This is one of the easiest recipes out there for salmon and it is delicious. The miso sauce tastes amazing with the salmon. I imagine the sauce can go with anything besides salmon. Will definitely make this again.jchan085Hong Kong03/15/19Incredibly easy and delicious. Pairs perfectly with roasted asparagus or broccoli. Will be added to our weekday dinner rotation for sure. PS, to Anonymous in Portland - the recipe calls for a cast iron pan, not a stainless steel one.bakedinthesouth70San Francisco, CA02/10/19I was nervous about the cold pan method but it worked wonderfully! I used a cast iron btw. I had to practice a lot of patience but the fillets really do release once they're ready. Quick and easy. I'll be bookmarking the miso sauce for other uses as well.mpham16Costa Mesa, CA02/05/19This recipe is amazing - simple and delicious. We normally grill salmon, but cooking it using this recipe produced a very moist fish. I was skeptical at first but this is a winner! Loved the sauce and very easy to make.AnonymousSan Juan Islands, Washington01/22/19Overall the salmon tasted great, especially with the miso sauce! I did have some difficulty with the skin sticking to the pan. About half of the skin on each fillet fell off, and I followed the recipe exactly. I used a cold cast iron pan with no oil, as the recipe instructed. Despite the skin sticking I would definitely make this again!AnonymousLong Island, New York12/19/18Absolutely delicious and perfect exactly as written! This recipe makes you feel like a restaurant chef at home. It's also insanely quick - especially is you have one person on salmon duty and one person on sauce/scallion duty. Start to finish 15 min. meal. Going in the repertoire.AnonymousNew York City, NY12/11/18This was great. I cheated and added a little oil to my cast iron pan before proceeding with the cold pan method. Turned out great. Love the miso sauce and bought a small tub of miso specifically for this recipe. (which is excellent without the ginger if you don’t have any on hand). No regretsI loved this! Ate it with charred broccoli and rice. Sauce was great, and this was such a fantastic way to make salmon - skin was super crispy and insides were tender. I didn't have an issue with it sticking to the pan -- maybe because I used a cast iron? I'll definitely make this again.Not only did the skin stick to the pan, after letting it cook for 11 minutes waiting to see if it would release, but it also ruined my stainless steel pan. Not happy.AnonymousPortland, OR11/27/18I'm pretty new to cooking and this was the first time cooking any type of fish. Came out beautifully and the sauce was amazing and sweet without having really anything bad for you in it. 5/5Super easy, extremely delicious! It's key to try to find fillets that are relatively even thickness for a consistent done-ness, unlike the stovetop-to-oven method. I was a bit dubious about this cold pan method, but it was absolutely spot on just-cooked-tender. The miso sauce wasn't half bad either - served with roasted bok choy & carrots and jasmine rice.celynch8Brooklyn, NY11/13/18Simple, delicious and innovativeannarayHolland EU11/06/18

Watch the video: The Food Lab: How to Make Pan-Fried Salmon Fillets With Crispy Skin (July 2022).


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